I recently had the pleasure of reading Jessa Russo’s debut novel, Ever. It’s in a genre I don’t normally even glance at (YA Paranormal Romance), but I won the book in a contest. And as an aspiring author, I know the importance of reading just about everything you can! So, with some trepidation, I opened the cover and started reading.
The first thing I noticed: Jessa’s writing is strong. It sucks you into the book from the very first paragraph. I haven’t been that engrossed in a book in a long time…and that’s coming from a life-long bookworm. Even my favorite genres haven’t produced books that have kept me as into the story as Ever did. I am far from the target age-range for this genre, but Jessa wrote the book in such a way that it appeals to readers of all ages.
Now, to the story!
The story revolves around 17 year old Ever Van Ruesdayle and her ghost friend Frankie. She’s loved Frankie for years but just can’t bring herself to tell him. She has the normal problems for a 17 year old and when a new neighbor moves in across the street, her problems multiply. The book follows Ever as she falls in love with the hot guy, Toby, across the street. Their relationship follows the normal ups and downs until we get to the climatic ending…which I will not ruin for you =).
Things that I liked about this novel: the story drew me in from the start. Again, I am not the target age-range for this genre and it’s not one I normally look at. But I will be a future purchaser of Jessa Russo’s books! The story seemed true-to-life outside of the paranormal elements. Ever is a normal 17 year old girl with the normal problems of that age group. She seemed down to earth outside of the paranormal elements of the book. I loved the story, as it had a natural flow. Despite being ‘paranormal’ there was nothing too weird in the book, even as the end of the book comes around. Jessa managed to make everything work in the “real world” without falling into the normal traps of paranormal books.
There wasn’t much I disliked about the book. I did find Toby a little cliche, in that he was the “hot new guy”…I think if he’d been a little more ordinary looking, less “hunky”, I’d have liked him even more. But he’s a likeable character nonetheless. And to Jessa’s credit, he doesn’t have that “hunky” personality…in that sense, he was more ordinary. And he mostly treated the main character right, so that was nice.
I thought the female antagonist was a little…too antagonistic at times. She played her part well, but I thought for the genre, she went a little above at times. She can can be very sexual, and it might just be my raising (again, I’m older than the target age-range) but I thought she (and some other characters) at times, got a little too sexual for the book. For a reader my age, it was fine, but knowing the typical age-range, that stood out to me.
The only other complaint is that I have to wait for the sequel to see what happens next! *laughs* But the ending is well done and while I had a slightly different outcome in mind, I can’t complain about the way the book ended. I was engaged every time I picked up the book and even if I went a few days between readings, I was able to easily pick up where I left off.
I’d give Ever by Jessa Russo 5 of 5 stars! And I can’t wait for the sequel!!